Neuromancer Mass Market Paperback – 1987
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|Mass Market Paperback, 1987||
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SCIENCE FICTION-CASE WAS BURNT OUT.USELESS,SUICIDAL-HIS NERVOUS SYSTEM GRIEVOUSLY MAIMED BY A WARTIME RUSSIAN MYCOTOXIN.THE TOP JAPANESE EXPERTS IN NERVE SPLICING AND MICROBIONICS HAD TAKEN HIS MONEY AND LEFT HIM CRIPPLED.HIS DAYS AS A SOFTWARE COWBOY SEEMED OVER.THEN CASE MET A MAN WHO COULD CURE HIM,IN RETURN.CASE HAD TO DO A JOB.HAD TO,BECAUSE BONDED TO HIS ARTERY WALLS WERE TINY SACS OF THE MYCOTOXIN.TINY SACS SLOWLY MELTING.
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Top Customer Reviews
Neuromancer is not perfect. The characterisation is patchy (at best), some of the dialogue is stilted and the plot occasionally meanders but it is a still tremendous piece of work that has stood the test of time quite well.
Note that this is the first part of a trilogy and as such leaves a number of questions hanging. The other parts of the trilogy Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive are also very good and complete the story nicely.
The prose is fast, clever, snappy, set against a background of half-working neon in streets where disposable computer equipment is strewn like empty fast food cartons.
Our hero, Case, is a cyber-freelancer, able to jack himself into computer-systems and experience cyberspace as a three dimensional reality. Case, however, tried to steal from one of his more dubious clients who subsequently infected him with a Russian mycotoxin, effectively rendering him incapable of cyberspace work and therefore unemployable. We therefore meet him, down on his luck, and mixing with some rather eccentric characters in a downtown bar in Japan.
For me, it reads like `The Maltese Falcon in Space'. There is a pervasive noir element, since Case - like many a Nineteen-Forties gumshoe - is forced to take on a job, the full details of which he is not fully aware. There's a beautiful and dangerous woman (by the name of Molly) and a mysterious benefactor, as well as a supporting cast of neon-lit lowlife.
Like any classic noir novel, the action and the protagonists move between street level and the crazy billionaire family who are literally `above the clouds', since they live within their own Las Vegas style space station.
It's exciting, challenging, dense with atmosphere, and very much deserves its cult status as a modern classic.
On the other hand it is such a horror-show of a literary artefact, on a technical level so poorly conceived and executed, that it is almost impossible to slog through.
But slog through it I did, after a couple of aborted runs at it, and while I remain impressed at Gibson's conceptual prescience, thanks to his needlessly affected, sub-Burroughs, Beat-for-the-hell-of-it writing style I often had little idea what was going on, much less why, and from my tenuous grasp of the plot, conceptual scheme and literary motivations can't for the life of me fathom what Gibson was trying to make from his portentous ending. The thing is, and unlike many substandard novels of this type, I suspect Gibson did have a coherent point, but he buried under such a thick coating of cod-style it remains forever concealed. In his afterword he pretty much concedes all this (and handily summarises the ending in about two lines!).
There is a real art to successful stylism, evident in someone like James Ellroy whose prose, even though initially forbidding, suddenly "clicks" and carries the reader along enhancing the impression, the images, and the comprehension. Gibson's style, whilst cool, is uneven, obscure, and never manages anything other than to get in the way of a (fairly) good story.Read more ›
The challenge comes mostly in the jargon-loaded language, but that wasn't half as tough to penetrate as I expected. Simultaneously it also provided the greatest reward - bearing in mind when this book was conceived it displays some fascinating insights and prophecies around the future of technology.
Beyond that, I have a suspicion that the book is not quite as deep as it makes out! Case and Molly are the sort of protagonists that a good book needs; special but flawed. I certainly think an opportunity was missed to deliver more richness to these and other characters, but this will hopefully develop through the trilogy. The story itself is also subservient to the technological vision, but again it does set up the following books.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm so glad I got this addition, as Neuromancer is one of my very favourite books and this was the first edition I owned when I was a teenager.Published 4 days ago by Richard B
Classic cyberpunk book, solid plot and interesting concepts it dives into. Coming to it now obviously it's themes and concepts aren't "fresh", but that's only because so... Read morePublished 3 months ago by IB
Confusing plot and unlikable characters. Not worth the praise it gets, not by a long shot.Published 3 months ago by Nita
I tried to read this book about ten years or so ago (feeling a little old now). I didn't get much further than the 3rd chapter as I didn't have a clue what was going on. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Lel
Excellent book. William Gibson is a genius! Fast paced terminology, with very little explanation, but possible to pick it up as you go along.Published 5 months ago by Joseph
William Gibson burst onto the literary landscape in 1984 with this spectacular first novel, eventually attracting a readership well beyond science fiction fandom. Read morePublished 5 months ago by John Kwok